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Mark Drakeford ‘begins talks’ on more independence for Welsh Labour

09 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
Picture on @mark4leader/Twitter by Lee Waters.

Mark Drakeford has begun talks with UK Labour to remove centralised party control over members in Wales.

In a Morning Star interview to be published on Monday he said that he had spoken to Labour’s general secretary David Evans about the need for less centralised control over Welsh Labour.

“I had a good conversation with David at last week’s party conference in Brighton about how devolution inside the party needs to catch-up with devolution at governmental level,” he told the newspaper.

“I think there is a mood within the party in Wales for us to take more responsibility for decisions that apply to members who live in Wales.”

However, he said that more autonomy for Welsh Labour within the wider UK Labour Party would take time to develop.

“What I am keen to do is agree with the UK party that there is a process here and a direction of travel,” Mr Drakeford said.

Labour for an Independent Wales posted on social media to say that they welcomed the news.

“We support this vital move from our leader in ensuring that all decisions that affect Wales and Welsh Labour – from all policy, funding mechanisms, and candidate selections, to eventually (hopefully) a Welsh Labour whip in Westminster – are made by the party in Wales,” they said.

‘Compelling’

The move comes after Mark Drakeford told the Labour conference in Brighton that Labour should stop “looking at the world through a Westminster telescope” and learn from Welsh Labour’s example.

He said that the party should learn from other parts of the UK where Labour are winning elections rather than only analysing why they are failing to win power at Westminster.

“This conference is a chance to remind ourselves that despite being out of government at Westminster, Labour is in power, making a difference that only Labour can make, every single day, in places and communities right across Britain,” he said.

“When a political party has been out of power, at the UK level, for an extended period of time, then the need for soul-searching is obvious and necessary.

“It is right that we look hard at what we can and must do to win power again at Westminster.

“There’s a temptation look at the world through only a Westminster telescope and ask: ‘What went wrong?’

“But we should look at Labour’s many success stories across England, Scotland and Wales and understand what that tells us about how Labour can win the next General Election.

“In those success stories that we find a compelling answer to one of the most difficult challenges which all opposition parties face – even if our policies are popular, how can voters be confident that the party can translate those ideas into practice?

“The answer is: because we are already doing it and doing it, at scale, in large parts of the UK. In Parliaments, Town Halls and Mayoral offices across the land.

“From Manchester to Rhondda Cynon Taf; Dagenham to Swansea – across the country Labour is in power – standing up for individuals and communities and building innovative public services for the 21st century.”

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Erisian
Erisian
14 days ago

About time too. Give that man several cigars.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
14 days ago

Sounds good in practise, but what Mark Drakeford wants and gets is another matter entirely. They should follow Plaid Cymru’s lead. Made in Wales.

I can see calls for Welsh Labour independence from central rule accelerating if Keir Starmer & English Labour fail to win the next UK General Election, although by then Scotland would have likely become an independent nation and Wales will have to do a lot of soul searching.

#YesCymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿👍. #Ymlaen 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿👍 #WelshIndependence 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿👍 #UnionismFailsWales 🇬🇧👎

Last edited 14 days ago by Y Cymro
Dex7
Dex7
12 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Follow Plaid’s lead and never be in Office

Martyn
Martyn
14 days ago

Starmer & his Revolting Right-Wing Blairites have ruined English Labour’s chances of ever winning power

Dave
Dave
14 days ago
Reply to  Martyn

Hi Martyn have a look at Michael Foots manifesto in 2003 (longest suicide note in history extreme leftie etc) then look at 15 or so of these pledges implemented by Blair post 1997. stop believing the media for truth most are lying for Tory political gain. ‘#indywales

John Brooks
John Brooks
14 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Of course it was Denis Healey who called it the longest suicide note in history. Right in the middle of the election campaign. When a senior Labour politician denigrates the manifesto you can hardly expect voters to support it. Not the last time it happened either.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  John Brooks

It happened in 2019 as well senior Labour figures telling people to vote Tory

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
13 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Michael Foots manifesto in 2003 (longest suicide note in history extreme leftie etc) …

___________

You’re twenty years out, mate. 🙂

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  Martyn

I disagree but what would be the point of sir Red Tory lite Labour then even if they got power?

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
14 days ago

Cut themselves off from Westminster Labour and I may consider voting for them.

Gareth P.
Gareth P.
14 days ago

Confirmation of how UK labour exerts policy control over Welsh Labour and that at last Mark Drakeford is starting to recognise that the clear red water is now only red on the welsh side, but it is disturbing that the process is going to take some time , procrastinating the accension of a true seperate Welsh labour party whilst Scotland heads on the fast track to independence will damage Wales and expose us more to the tories and their beligerance toward the senedd

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
13 days ago
Reply to  Gareth P.

Warm words from Mark Drakeford and sincere – I have no doubt. He doesn’t belong to my party, but I do think that MD is quite a decent bloke at heart. But as someone else mentioned previously, what Mark “Oliver Twist” Drakeford asks for and what Starmer and his gang will be willing to give are two opposite poles of reality. a’n g Those of us with longer memories recall the complaints of a previous ‘Scottish’ Labour leader, Johann Lamont, who cited England/UK Labour treating her and her outpost as a mere branch of the main Labour tree. Well, subsequent… Read more »

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  Welsh_Sion

Always remember that Labour are in coalition with the tories in Scotland in 11 councils including Aberdeen to keep the SNP out

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
13 days ago

I do indeed, GWJ. That’s why I partake of my daily dose of the Wee Ginger Dug and Bella Caledonia – as well as being a Member of the SNP! 🙂

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
13 days ago
Reply to  Welsh_Sion

Fair comment indeed. Wasn’t also the case that the devolution ball started rolling for the second devo referendum in Scotland at the behest of Scottish Labour, not only in an attempt to stem increasing support for the SNP, but also to silence demands from within Scottish Labour to secede from the UK Labour Party? Given that now Scotland has had successive SNP governments and gas seen the movement for full independence grow to a point where a substantial minority backed independence in a referendum, surely indicates that independence must have been seen as a desirable outcome by a substantial number… Read more »

George Bodley
George Bodley
9 days ago
Reply to  Welsh_Sion

Mark drakeford should take a leaf out of Rhodri Morgans book he didn’t take any crap from English labour he drew the red lines between the English labour party and welsh labour

John Davies
John Davies
14 days ago

The interesting thing about this is Drakeford is pursuing it in the name of “devolution”, matching political structures that are already in place. This seems comparatively uncontroversial. He is not calling for it because the dreadful Starmer/Evans purge of Labour has been pursued without regard for justice and due process and he wants Welsh Labour to be free from that. To say that openly would be too confrontational. If he does end up with Welsh Labour in charge of its own disciplinary procedures, it will be a major step towards creating an independent Labour party in Wales. Combined with other… Read more »

Dave
Dave
14 days ago
Reply to  John Davies

Also if the membership of Welsh Labour are beyond the purview of the NEC, will this also me true for MS’s as well? canny is the word #indywales

John Davies
John Davies
14 days ago
Reply to  Dave

The apparatchiks in London Labour would no doubt think if they retained the power to “parachute” candidates into Welsh seats, (often against the wishes of local parties), that would enable them to retain control. But every little step of independence Welsh Labour gains makes that sort of stunt more difficult. Drakeford will of course continue to pay lip-service to unionism so as not to evoke the wrong reactions from London, but he is sufficiently clued-in to see which way the tide is running.

Arwyn
Arwyn
14 days ago

If ever independence supporters needed more evidence, here it is again – neither Drakeford nor Labour will lead us to independence. Look at his language; “the country,” referring to the UK. Labour might merely be Unionists but in being so they enable the Tories British Nationalism. Welsh Labour are seeking an accomodation with the Westminster political establishment – to strengthen their powerbase in Wales. This is very far from delivering independence – it delivers more UK! So I say to independence supporting Labour voters and members, hold your noses, acknowledge the need for realpolitik and vote/join Plaid Cymru. Stop wasting… Read more »

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
14 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Even the most dyed-in-the wool Plaid Cymru activists will agree that a one-party state would be a bad outcome. Can we therefore assume that you’re advocating a ‘long game’ in which other parties’ activists tactically undermine themselves in the short term? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but your proposal does look like it would require some very complicated political manoeuvring in several parties.

There may be lessons to be learned from Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Divorce, which I confess I haven’t studied closely.

Arwyn
Arwyn
13 days ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

No I don’t advocate a one party state. How on earth could you reach that conclusion? I’m simply stating obvious facts. What complicated manouverings have I suggested? I’m suggesting that if folk support independence for Wales they ought to vote for a party that stands on a policy of Welsh independence. It’s really not complicated.

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
13 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I’m not accusing anyone of advocating a one-party state. That’s why I wrote “Even the most dyed-in-the wool Plaid Cymru activists will agree that a one-party state would be a bad outcome.”

Since we agree that one-party states are not good, I’m interest to read your ideas (or anyone’s) for how at least one other party can transform itself into a credible alternative choice for voters in an independent Wales. I’m not trying a pick an argument!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
13 days ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

Quite simply, if any pro-Wales party wants to win the Senedd, thay have to convince the electorate that they, and not Welsh Labour, are the natural party of government in this country and embody Welsh values more effectively. Labour’s claim to this title is currently unassailable. As for Mark Drakeford, he is certainly moving cautiously and slowly in widening the gap between Welsh and UK Labour, but that’s because he has good grasp of realpolitik, and is constantly playing the long game with London HQ. Not difficult, because he’s still in the unionist camp, and he probably still sees hope… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
13 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Slightly off topic, but did anyone else notice RT Davies defending the Senedd? Potentially much more important.

Arwyn
Arwyn
13 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

I agree with you Wrexhamian – Drakeford is adept at realpolitik, no doubt about it. But I will say that there’s an awful lot of speculation from indy supporters about Drakeford’s political aims. He appears to me to be a man of his word so I tend to pay heed to his words … and he keeps saying he wants a strong devolution settlement within the UK. And I believe him. But I dont agree with him. All the senior figures around him claim the same, albeit that HQ & Starmer blow hot and cold on his federal proposals. He’s… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
13 days ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

I’ll be honest, I found it a very peculiar thing to say but if I have misread I apologise. I don’t have all the answers to the indy cause or the problems in our economy and society or even to how Plaid wins the next election. But I can look at data and polling and recognise what is possible and what impact that can have. I think it is bonkers to split the indy vote and give a huge chunk of it to an unionist party. It a political mandate for independence impossible. If polling is to be believed some… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Arwyn
George Bodley
George Bodley
9 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Who will lose

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
14 days ago

This is the way to go..English Labour are over.

j humphrys
j humphrys
14 days ago

(Gosh, is the Morning Star still extant?)
Anyway, I simply can’t keep up with Drakey, but won’t give him the chinese burn on this.

Quornby
Quornby
13 days ago

About time but will it happen?? Probably not

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
13 days ago

One day it may come to him…. Cymru can do better, Cymru can do well, Cymru in the long run can do brilliant! But never manacled to Westminster

George Bodley
George Bodley
9 days ago

Same for all the other nations outside of england and thats including kernew

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
13 days ago

This could be interesting. If Welsh Labour does get far more autonomy from the UK party this could indicate that Starmer is serious about devolution and federalism. If it doesn’t happen we can draw the opposite conclusion.

What would be more interesting is what Drakeford and Welsh Labour would do if they are refused greater autonomy.

George Bodley
George Bodley
9 days ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

War with london

George Bodley
George Bodley
9 days ago

Well said Mark Drakeford london centric navel gazing labour are the reason they’re not in power in westminster it well overdue that other nations and areas of the uk have autonomy over their labour party

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